Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This month.

Been a while since I posted anything here, so I have decided to publish a catch up post.
Our front yard has been such a mess, with all the winds we’ve been having over summer.   I thought I should at least rake all the leaves and twigs up. The thought of bending over and picking up the leaves to put into the bin made me feel ill, so when I saw our neighbour about to drive off with her oldest son, I called out over the fence to ask what the younger two were doing, and if they would like to earn a bit of pocket money. She said they would and when I asked how much to pay them, and would $10 be enough, she said "More than enough!" The two boys (12 and 14 approx.) appeared within minutes bringing their own rakes and gardening gloves, and their green wheelie bin. I raked, and they scooped everything up and piled it into the two bins. The yard was cleared in about 20 minutes - I was so grateful! I had $15 and two $50 bills in my purse, so I gave them the $15 and they ran off happily! Their Mum told me later I was way too generous! but if ever we needed help again, just call out.  Ken came home from Bunnings just as the boys were leaving with their bin and rakes, and he was as pleased as I was to have the yard cleaned up. So nice to have such kind (and young and fit!) neighbours!

My niece Susan's oldest son Peter was married last weekend and we attended the wedding with about 100 other guests. The church is a modern 'hall' type Anglican church (no spire, organ, or church pews as I remember them), and it seems that people can do their own thing and set it up however they like for a wedding.  Peter  is the president of the local brass band, so they were there to provide the music. He and his new wife  Lizzie set the church up the day before, with chairs covered in fabric and a bow tied around each chair. Afternoon tea was provided after the wedding in an adjacent hall, while caterers converted the church hall into a reception room with trestles and chairs, and a spit roast. 
 Here I am with Peter and his lovely bride Lizzie.  They are both tall, and I feel like I've shrunk when I see myself in photos next to taller people!

We had opted not to stay for the reception when we accepted the invitation, but stayed until about 5 pm circulating among the rellies, most of which we hadn't seen for a few years (apart from my brothers and their wives), and it was fun to catch up with the younger members of the family who had all grown about 2 feet since we last saw them as kids! It was so hot, as there was no air conditioning, so Ken and I were glad to get home and flake out in our nice cool home (we'd left the air con running while we were out. Thank you Mr Solar!)

On Sunday afternoon we visited Ken's cousin David and his wife Yaso, who live in Clifton Hill in a terrace house that was built in 1873 or thereabouts.  They are renovating it inside, but sympathetically to it's age, and it is looking fabulous. We piled 70 baby quilts in the back of the ute and delivered them to Yaso, who works with the PNG native people, and organises the distribution of our quilts to their babies. I was so pleased to get rid of all those boxes and bags out of our spare room!  We had a lovely afternoon tea with them, and Yaso showed me some of the saris she has brought back from her last trip home to Malaysia to see her mother.  She wants me to make a quilt from the saris but I’m reluctant to cut into such beautiful silk fabrics, so I’ll take it to some patchwork groups and see what they can advise.

Ken has been selling some of his Gouldian finches and quails, which helps to make room for all the newly hatched babies.  He bought two Princess Parrots recently and they are such a change from the smaller quiet finches;  We love hearing them chortling away to each other.

We had been having a cold drink while sitting watching the birds one day recently, and Tiger jumped up on the table and knocked over my empty glass.  He looked so guilty, I had to take a photo!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Melbourne Cat Cafe.

I was in the city with Ken today. He goes to a barber in Hardware Street every six weeks, and in recent months I've been driving him in and dropping him off there. Instead of him having to find somewhere to park then possibly have to walk a long way back to the barber, which he is unable to do now because of his breathing problems, I would rather find somewhere to park, and walk back to wait for him, then go and get the car to pick him up. Anyway, that's the background to me being in town today!

 For some reason, I remembered the Cat Cafe the other day, and decided that instead of hanging around waiting for Ken, I'd drop him off then go and find the Cat Cafe, which opened last year. I'd been meaning to go there ever since, but in the end just forgot about it until now. It isn't that far from Hardware Street, so I got a park on Queen street and walked up to it within about 2 minutes. Stayed there for half an hour and walked back to pick up Ken who had just finished having his hair cut. It wasn't quite what I expected, thinking there would be an actual cafe on the premises like in other countries, but I do remember reading that the Melbourne city council arked up about food being served among the cats, and so possibly the owners lost that battle. All the cats are on the first floor in various rooms, and if you want a coffee, a member of the staff brings it up to you from the ground floor. I didn't bother about coffee, as I was going to have a coffee with Ken later, so it only cost me $5 for half an hour. The usual fee is $10 just to spend an hour there!! Thought that was a bit rich, but apparently it is booked out for months ahead. I forgot you were supposed to book, and when I walked in off the street, the guy wasn't going to let me in, but when I said I'd only want a quick look because my car was on a meter, he relented and let me go up for half price. I asked why people needed to book, and he said they only allow a certain number of people up at one time so as not to stress the cats. There were only about 6 or 8 people up there when I went up, and about 10 cats. I bought a heap of kitty souvenirs. Ken said "What did you buy all that for?" and I said because it was cute LOL! Here are some photos:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day 2015

We have been hosting Australia Day parties since we moved here 34 years ago. This year Ken and I felt too tired to do it, and one of our friends who has been to all of them, offered to host it. We had a great day - Sandra did a great job of setting up her patio with the flag on display, and Aussie themed fabrics and tablecloths on the tables. Our usual group of friends were all there, as well as another friend of Sandra's, who was willing to join in the fun with us. We sang the national anthem at the top of our voices, and Sandra's neighbour told us later on that he thought it was great to hear it sung so enthusiastically! I only took three photos, but Sandra took some too, so I'm hoping hers are more meaningful than mine - ha ha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Got my car back, but want to trade my body in!

My dear old car is back on the road feeling as good as new.  Well, as good as a 12 year old car can feel to me.  The onboard computer has been replaced, and the mechanic who worked on it said today the car still has a lot of life in it, and he agrees with my decision to keep it going for a few more years.

Wish I could trade my body in as easily.  I've made an appointment with my doctor for the regular pap smear test next month, and I am going to ask her to refer me to a rheumatologist.  Like most of us once we hit 50 and 60 and beyond, I have had aches and pains come and go.  But in the past year, I wake up aching and got to bed aching.  And I'm so tired all the time.  I know I have osteo arthritis as well as osteopenia, both conditions confirmed by x-rays, blood tests, bone density scans, etc. and various treatments have been prescribed - Vitamin D, Panodol Osteo, osteopathy, weight bearing exercises, and TaiChi, all of which I have taken on in varying degrees.  At the clinic we go to, one of the doctors told me a few years ago that I was getting old like we all do, and to just deal with it! 

Today, my osteopath was quite worried about the state I was in.  He told Ken later it is the worst he has ever seen me.  I shuffled into his treatment room and plonked myself down in a chair.  I used to bounce up on the treatment table, and roll over on to my back or front with ease, but now it takes longer to climb up, and rolling over doesn't exist for me any more!  He asked me a few questions about exercise, diet and sleep patterns, and I had to admit that sleep is a low priority for me as there are so many things I like to do at night when it is quiet - read, sew, sit at the computer, sometimes up to 3 am.  I usually wake up between 9 and 10 am, which is fine now that we are retired, but he said I've fallen into a bad sleep pattern which probably has a lot to do with the way I'm feeling.   He asked if I drink much water and I admitted that I probably don't drink as much as I should - one or two glasses a day, and a few cups of tea or coffee.

Then he asked what exercise I do, and the answer to that is easy - none apart from neck and back stretching exercises in the mornings.   He suggested I should walk or swim.  I can't swim, so I'm not going down that track at my age!  And I used to walk a lot - every morning before work for years, and on weekends with Ken, and with friends since I retired.  But in the past year my feet and knees hurt so much if I walk any more than a block, so I don't do that either.  He asked if I'd had blood tests to see if I had rheumatoid arthritis, and I said not that I'm aware of, so he suggested I should look into that.

My priority now is to get some straight answers from an expert.  I don't want to be operated on,  I don't want to exist on pain killers for the rest of my life, and I refuse to believe that at 67, my pain is due to getting old!  But like Ken, I'm having to pace myself and cut back on some activities.  For instance this year I have decided not to host our annual Australia Day party because the thought of cleaning up the back yard and patio (both of which need a lot of work), and setting up the gazebo and other items we put up for the day, just did my head in.  And Ken is as bad as me - he doesn't have the strength or energy to do any of that work either.   So I started phoning our friends to tell them of my decision, and the first one I called said straight away "But we can't NOT do Australia Day!   I'll have it here!".  The next friend said "I'll have it at my place next year!"   Times like this you know who your friends are :-)  Such a weight off my shoulders.  Now I'm looking forward to the 26th January, with just some food preparation to do, then sit back and relax!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Expensive start to the year.

You might as well say that it was an expensive end to last year with the Chook Ranch!  But that was planned, and a new car was definitely NOT on the agenda.  Still isn't really, but I might not have a choice.  On
Xmas Eve my brakes failed while I was backing down the driveway of a friend's house.  Thank goodness for manual transmission:  I jumped on the clutch and put the car into first gear, at the same time using the hand brake to slow down.  Came to a stop at the foot of the driveway just as a car drove past...

When I tried to re start the car it kept stalling.  Just as well I was only around the corner from home, and I just made it into the garage before it stalled again.   Luckily the ABS garage was open and they said to bring my car around, which I did, driving very carefully with Ken behind me in the ute.   They fixed the brakes which needed replacing at a cost of $380.  Fine, but when I drove off I only got about three blocks away when the car stalled again.  I phoned ABS on my mobile (what did we do before mobile phones?) and they said bring the car back.  I did, and they spent half an hour on it at no cost (now that's what I call the Christmas spirit) but with not much improvement.

I had to wait until this week when the mechanic at our usual garage started work, and he did some more work, replacing a gadget at a cost of nearly $700.  I drove off, but it was no better, so back it went.  They've had the car for three days, taken it to other places, and had experts in, and finally today some computer bloke came in and did some tests and announced the cause of the problem is the car's internal computer.  It will have to be replaced at a possible starting cost of over $1000, and that's before labour costs.  Ken wants me to trade it in right away on a newer model.  In the present condition I'd be lucky to get $1000 trade in value, and the cost of a good second hand car (I don't want a brand new car) would be about $10,000 or more.   My opinion is that I should get the computer replaced and keep my car, as it has only done 106,000 kl, and is still very reliable, and seeing I've just spent $1000 to keep it going, I'm reluctant to let it go so soon!

I'd be interested to read any opinions from readers....

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Some photos from the last few days of 2014.

I finally got some photos of our chook house name sign with my camera, so am able to post them here now (had some on the Samsung tablet but it was too much messing around to transfer them here).

Ralph (the rooster) looks like he is offended at my description of his girls!!

We went to Office Works after Christmas, to get the chook sign laminated.  While we were there, we had a look around, as one does at Office Works.  I persuaded Ken to buy himself a new chair for sitting at his desk, as he was using an old kitchen chair which must have been uncomfortable after a few minutes but he never complained.  But this?   I feel like I'm sharing the room with a killer whale - LOL!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Day.

We had a perfectly lovely day.  Just Ken and I with one of his cousins, who was on her own this year due to her siblings being elsewhere, so we invited her to join us.  I bought a turkey breast with bacon and sage stuffing at Coles and cooked that with the usual roast vegies.  We followed that with a pot of tea and some Christmas cake.   Here is Ken with cousin Ro, both of them pleasantly full of good food and apple cider!

I was given some lovely gifts again this year.  Ken gave me a GPS and a sapphire and diamond eternity ring.  I suggested that he wait until our 36th anniversary on January 6th but he wanted to give it to me as soon as he bought it, so there we were in the Greensborough Centre having a coffee, while he put the ring on my finger!  I felt like a teenager all over again, lol!

Other gifts that I received were a chook calendar, chook garden ornament, Xmas apron, Peacock cushion, a plant, and various items of food.  

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